Based on the same platform as the Rio hatch, Stonic is the smallest of Kia’s SUVs.
Designed by the maestro Peter Schreyer, the name is a combination of the words
“stylish” and “iconic”.

In Australia Stonic is available with 1.4-litre four cylinder or turbocharged 1.0-litre three-
cylinder petrol engines, the latter confined to the top of the range GT-Line.

Top seller in this section of the market is the Mazda CX-3, followed by the Toyota Yaris
Cross, with the Hyundai venue in third place. Nipping at their heels is the Kia Stonic.

Stonic is not just small, but categorised as a light SUV. Nuggety, with a bulldog-like
stance, it has seating for five at a pinch.

The car presents as more than the sum of its cheap and cheerful parts. But it’s dragged
down by the nasty, plastic hubcaps that need the old heave-ho.

Enhancing the look are stylish roof rails, a spoiler over the rear window, front and rear
bumper inserts along with protective cladding for the lower-body and wheel arches.
Bumpers, door handles and mirrors are all body coloured.

Inside, it’s all familiar and practical, with analogue instrument dials, small 4.2-inch driver
information display and central 8.0-inch touchscreen.

There’s two cupholders in the centre console and bottle holders for each of the doors.

Our test vehicle, the entry S model, comes with cloth trim and manual air conditioning,
priced from $22,990 driveaway for the S manual, and another $1000 for an auto.

Every colour except Clear White is a premium option and adds $520 to the price.
Standard kit includes cruise control, auto lights (not wipers), roof rails, power windows
front and back, reverse parking sensors and 15-inch steel wheels with the
aforementioned hubcaps (remember them).

The driver’s seat is height adjustable and the steering wheel has both reach and height

Infotainment consists of an 8.0-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth with audio streaming and
support for two phones simultaneously, wireless Apple Carplay and wireless and wired
Android Auto and six-speaker sound.

All models have USB ports for the connection of memory sticks and other USB storage
devices for both front and rear passengers.

There’s also one USB port and one 12-volt outlet in the centre console.

S misses out on navigation as well as DAB+ digital radio.

The 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine in the S produces 74kW of power at 6000 rpm
and 133Nm of torque at 4000 rpm. Drive to the front wheels through either six-speed
manual or six-speed automatic transmissions.

In comparison, the 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo delivers 74kW at 4500 rpm and 172Nm
from 1500 to 4000 rpm, and is paired with a 7-speed dual clutch style auto.

Stonic scores a full five-star safety rating, with six airbags, a rear-view camera with
dynamic guidelines and autonomous emergency braking (AEB) that includes car,
pedestrian and cyclist detection. It is active from 5-180km/h for vehicles and 5-85km/h
for pedestrians and cyclists.

Cornering brake control (CBC) assists with control and balance when braking on
curves, while driver attention alert (DAA) recognises signs of fatigue before
recommending the driver takes a break.

The safety package also includes lead vehicle departure alert with lane keeping assist
(LKA) which alerts the driver and activates steering control if the vehicle drifts out of its
lane without the use of an indicator.

Lane following assist (LFA) identifies current lane and lane boundaries and will
automatically centre the car if unintentional lane departure is detected.

Rear occupant alert (ROA) is a class leading inclusion that monitors rear door opening
and closing, alerting the driver when rear seat passengers exit the vehicle.
What you don’t get and what none of the grades get is blind spot alert.

Once offered, auto high-beam seems to have disappeared from the range.

There are three child restraint anchor points as well as two ISOFIX mounts.

Stonic sits 4140mm long, 1760mm wide and stands 1520mm high with roof rails.

It has a wheelbase of 2580mm and minimum ground clearance of 165mm in S form.
Rear legroom is limited, with belts for three but room for only two adults realistically —
and no air vents.

There’s 332 litres of boot space with the seats in place or 1155 litres with them folded.
A space saver spare wheel is located under the boot floor.

As mentioned, Stonic shares a platform with the Rio hatch, making it the SUV version
of the Rio.

Subtle differences include the gearbox which has been pushed forward 28mm, an
increased caster angle from 4.1 degrees to 4.6 degrees and high-performance RS-
valve shock absorbers.

At the rear, the use of a more vertical setup for the shocks (8.4 degrees off vertical as
opposed to Rio’s 25 degrees) and enhanced torsion beam construction has brought
further improvement in ride quality and NVH.

To complete the engineering changes the number of teeth on the motor driven power
steering has been increased, resulting in more refined and precise steering input and

Suspension is Mac strut at front and torsion beam at the back and it rides on Kumho
tyres with a 185/65 profile.

For 1.4 models Kia says the handling targets were neutral balance with good overall
grip and stability.

The steering is designed for precise on-centre feel and accuracy with mid-corner
settlement at high speed.

The six-speed auto in our test vehicle was a welcome surprise. We were kind of
expecting an old style four-speed at this price point.

The difference is chalk and cheese. The 1.4 doesn’t labour, doesn’t hunt for gears on
hills and generally delivers pretty respectable if unexciting performance across the

Cruise control is another surprise at this price.

But a hard-on-the-hands polyurethane steering wheel never lets you forget where you

Using the transmission lever, you can change gears manually with the auto, but no
drive modes are offered to lift performance. Punting hard in manual mode was
something of a revelation.

Ride and handling are excellent, with a caveat that the ride is somewhat compromised
by the Kumho Ecowing tyres fitted.

Anything with ‘eco’ in the name generally means a harder tyre compound to produce
lower fuel consumption (at the expense of ride quality).

The steering is very good too, not too light and locks down on centre without constant
need for adjustment.

Navigation and digital radio are missing in action, but you can connect your phone to
In fact, you can connect it wirelessly with both CarPlay and Android Auto, but wireless
charging is really required or you’ll soon find your phone runs out of battery if it is a long

Disconnection in the CBD is always a problem too, precisely at the wrong moment.

Fuel consumption for the 1.4 is 6.0L/100km (manual) and 6.7L/100km for the auto, with
the turbo good for 5.4L/100km. CO2 emissions range from 155g/km for the six-speed
automatic down to 125g/km for the turbo.

With a 45-litre tank, it takes regular unleaded. We were getting 6.9L/100km after more
than 400km – but for a car this size it could be better.

With five-star safety, the practicality of an SUV and low fuel consumption, the Kia
Stonic is an ideal city car or perhaps starter car for a teenager.

It’s cheap and cheerful, cruise control at this level is a real bonus and you really can’t
go past that 7-year warranty.

It’s cheaper than a CX-3 or Yaris Cross too.

Looks: 7
Performance: 6.5
Safety: 7.5
Thirst: 7.5
Practicality: 8
Comfort: 7
Tech: 6
Value: 7.5
Overall: 7.1


S Manual, $21,490
S Auto, $22,990
Sport Manual, $24,490
Sport Auto, $25,990
GT-Line, $29,990

Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your
local Kia dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Kia Stonic S 1.4-litre, 6-spd automatic, front-wheel drive, five-door

Capacity: 1.4-litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 74 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 133 Nm @ 4000 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 91 RON
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 6.7 L/ 100km
CO2 Emissions: 155 g/km

DRIVELINE: Six-speed automatic, front-wheel drive

Length: 4140 mm
Wheelbase: 2580 mm
Width: 1760 mm
Height: 1500 mm
Turning Circle: 10.2 metres
Kerb Mass: 1192 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 45 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc

7 years / unlimited kilometres

About Chris Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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